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CAMEO Members See Dramatic Increase in Demand

Thanks to Nancy Swift for her collaboration!

With the economic fallout stemming from the pandemic and social distancing measures, we know that all our members have experienced an increase in demand from small business owners struggling to stay afloat. We likely won’t know the full extent of these shifts in demand for months or years to come, but we now have the first glimpses of hard data – courtesy of California’s WBC and SBDC networks. If you have data you’d like to share, please send it to Heidi Pickman.

From the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak this year, the 13 WBCs in the state (14 since the new center in Los Angeles opened on April 1st) have been meeting the growing demand for services. Since March 2020:

  • Inquiries for WBC services doubled, with an average inquiry increase of 264% for the WBCs that tracked inquiries from March 15 to May 15 in 2019 and 2020. 
  • WBCs trained 16,374 entrepreneurs between March 15 and May 15, 2020, almost five times the 2,833 trained during the same two months in 2019
  • WBCs counseled 1,808 clients in the most recent two months, double the 957 clients counseled in the same period in 2019.
  • The number of loans packaged more than tripled from 91 loans ($1.7M) in March to May 2019 to 402 loans ($9.3M) in just two months as they helped businesses obtain PPP, EIDL, and other business financing. 

This rapid response has been possible thanks to funds from California’s Technical Assistance Expansion Program (TAEP), which has also provided expanded capacity to the state’s SBDC network. 

  • TAEP-supported programming provided entrepreneurs with more than tenfold (1020%) increase in access to business financing: from 224 loans ($30M) in 2019 to 2,513 loans ($346M) in the same two-month period in 2020.
  • The number of clients counseled almost doubled from 2019 to 2020–from 8,228 clients counseled March 15-May 15, 2019 to 23,253 clients counseled in March 15 to May 15, 2020.
  • Group training participation tripled from 5,146 entrepreneurs trained March 15-May 15 2019 to 20,719 entrepreneurs trained in the most recent 2 months, March 15-May 15, 2020.

In 2019, every dollar of TAEP funding invested in California’s WBCs returned $192 in revenue going back into local economies. Given the huge increase in demand for services so far in 2020, this return on investment is expected to double in the coming years.